Spain and the West

September 18, 1968

Report Outline
Uneasy Relations of Spain and the West
Spain'S Road Back from the Axis Alliance
Conditions on Franco'S Domestic Front

Uneasy Relations of Spain and the West

Diplomats, with military advisers at their elbows, have been negotiating extension of the agreement between the United States and Spain under which this country obtained, in 1953, the right to maintain air and naval bases and to build an oil pipeline on Spanish territory. The agreement, coming up for renewal Sept. 26, would continue in effect automatically if neither country sought modifications, but Spain is understood to have made various demands on the United States as the price for continuation of the pact. The American ambassador to Spain, former Mayor Robert F. Wagner of New York, found the bases agreement at the top of his agenda after he had presented his credentials to the Spanish Chief of State, Generalissimo Francisco Franco, on July 4, 1968.

The question of renewing, modifying, or canceling the defense agreement with Spain involves not only the security needs of the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance, but also to some extent the climate of life in Franco Spain and the position of Spain in the non-Communist world. Ostracized as a fascist dictatorship by the United States, France, Great Britain, and other countries after World War II, Spain has gradually gained re-entry to the community of nations, in part because of its importance as one of the largest countries in Western Europe (second only to France in area) and in part because of its strategic location at the western entrance to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean.

Defense may be the most important matter in relations between Spain and other Western nations, but questions of a different kind now attract equal or greater attention. There is the periodic eruption of Spain's running quarrel with Great Britain over Gibraltar. Manifestations of labor and student unrest in defiance of the dictatorship, protests over the meagerness of Spanish concessions to religious minorities, and speculation over who will eventually succeed Franco are among other topics of recurring interest outside the dictator's domain.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
May 24, 1974  Threatened Spanish Succession
Sep. 18, 1968  Spain and the West
Aug. 12, 1959  Spain and the Free World
Dec. 22, 1951  Franco Spain and European Defense
Oct. 03, 1949  Relations with Spain
Apr. 20, 1945  Spain in Transition
Jan. 26, 1939  Spain's Civil War and the Great Powers
Diplomacy and Diplomats
Regional Political Affairs: Europe